I found this amazing Homemade Caramel Corn recipe a couple weeks ago on a blog called Gimme Some Oven. The first recipe I had tried was too sticky and burnt easily, but this one is just right. The only alterations I made to the ingredients was less salt in the caramel. I also had to use two roasting pans to bake the corn — it just wouldn’t fit in one. I had them on two different racks in the oven, and switched the pans back and forth when I stirred them so the corn would be heated evenly. The recipe says it will keep for up to a week, but we’ve never had it last much more than 24 hours. If there’s any left, it will be something to munch on while watching Doctor Who.
Since I became a Whovian, I’ve actually been looking forward to Christmas. As someone who does not observe the holiday, my previous feelings around this time of year mainly consisted of frustration with the endless barrage of Christmas music on the radio. Now, I look forward to “Whomas.” This year, however, I dread the Christmas special more than I anticipate it. I’m interested to see what kind of Doctor Peter Capaldi will be, but I don’t want to see Matt Smith leave. With his impending regeneration, I’ll have to make sure there’s a box of tissues on hand as well as the caramel corn.
Homemade Caramel Corn
12 cups freshly popped popcorn (about 1 cup kernels before popped)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets or roasting pans with aluminum foil, and grease with cooking spray. Begin popping popcorn.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup, stir to combine. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer undisturbed for 5 minutes. Stir, then continue to cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is a deep golden color. Turn off the heat and slowly whisk in salt, baking soda and vanilla.
Pour caramel over the popcorn and toss until it is evenly coated with the caramel, being sure to scrape the caramel off the bottom of the pot. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets or pans in an even layer.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until the caramel corn has turned a deep amber color. Remove the caramel corn from the oven and transfer to a surface covered with parchment or wax paper to cool (or lift the foil out of the pans and place it on the counter). Once it reaches room temperature, use your hands or a spoon to break up the caramel corn, then store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Optional: you can melt about 1/3 cup of milk chocolate and drizzle it over half the popcorn. It’s pretty tasty, but I didn’t do that this time because it takes so much longer to set-up and it’s messy to eat when still melted.